What-to-know tourney previews: MEAC
Can Norfolk State continue to roll through the MEAC with an undefeated record?
Last year, Norfolk State had one of the biggest upsets in recent tournament history, when the Spartans knocked off No. 2-seeded Missouri in the round of 64. This year, Norfolk rolled through the MEAC with an undefeated 16-0 record, and while there is no Kyle O’Quinn on this team, it’s not bereft of talent. Pendarvis Williams was the league’s Player of the Year, and Malcolm Hawkins is solid. With that said, they’re likely headed for a No. 16 seed -- and it’s going to be tough to beat a one seed.
2. What happened when North Carolina Central and Norfolk State played in the regular season?
North Carolina Central finished just one game back of Norfolk State in the MEAC standings, going 15-1. However, the one loss wasn’t to Norfolk State. That’s right, in a 13-team league, somehow there were teams that didn’t play one another in a 16-game season. Will the two finally get to face off in the conference tournament? It’s definitely a possibility. NC-Central has arguably the most talent in the league, with Stanton Kidd and Jeremy Ingram forming a dynamic duo, and Ray Willis making plays from the perimeter.
3. Can anyone threaten either of those two teams?
No other team finished within four games of second-place North Carolina Central, but it’s not out of the question to see a surprise team or two. Savannah State is one of the best defensive teams in the country, allowing just nine Division-I teams to crack the 60-point barrier this season. Another team to watch for could be Morgan State, which won eight of its last nine games to end the season and has some veteran talent in Dewayne Jackson and Justin Black.
Schedule: March 11-16 in Norfolk, Va.
Title game: Saturday, March 16 at 5 p.m., on ESPNU
THREE BEST PLAYERS
- Pendarvis Williams (Norfolk State)
- Jeremy Ingram (North Carolina Central)
- Adrien Coleman (Bethune-Cookman)
Conference RPI: 30
KenPom.com rating: 30
Sagarin rating: 30
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